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Neighbour Wants to Survey Boundaries

Dear Michael,
We bought our house about 6 months ago and now our neighbour wants to resurvey the boundary. We are concerned as our house is quite close to the boundary on their side and it could affect our access to that side of the house or even be slightly across the boundary. What should we do?

Thanks for your question, this is an issue that comes up quite often. First it would be useful to know why your neighbour wants to determine the boundary. It may be that they want to develop or build on the property or renew the fences. Getting a better idea of what your neighbour wants to achieve is an important step to coming to an amicable agreement about the way forward.  There is also little point in worrying about this issue too much until you find out what they want to achieve and then where the boundaries actually lie.

Under clause 5.1 of the Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate approved by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Inc. and the Auckland District Law Society Inc. the vendor is not bound to point out the boundaries of the property unless it is the sale of a vacant lot in which case they need to make sure that all boundary markers are in their correct position. In other words when you buy a house you cannot be certain where the boundaries are.  This can be especially true when you are buying an older property in an established area like Ponsonby and Freemans Bay. The pegs are often missing or hidden by existing fences or treelines.

It is worth having a look for what pegs you can find for your property and having a look at the title for your property. Your title should include boundary measurements so if you can find one or two pegs you can get an idea of where the boundaries lie.

We still occasionally come across titles which are noted as “Limited as to parcels” which means that the property has never been properly surveyed and the Crown does not guarantee the actual area or dimensions of the boundaries. The only way to clarify the boundaries would be to have the property surveyed.

There are provisions under the Property Law Act 2007 to apply for relief from the court for a “wrongly placed structure” which covers the circumstances where a house is built across a boundary and for an order for entry onto neighbouring land for access to paint or repair your house. However, this should be regarded as a last resort as it is likely to both be expensive and will affect your relationship with your neighbours.

Do you have a similar problem that needs legal adivce?

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